Early in 1999, I discovered I was pregnant.
What does any staunchly unfashionable mother-to-be do? Knit. Knitting had not yet started to regain its fashionable status. Maybe I had subconsciously picked up that it would, or was simply a woman of the times and the inevitability of knitting's return, or maybe it was just coincidence.
There was not a plethora of knitting magazines with patterns of mobile phone covers and mug covers (and other such ridiculous nonsense), so I bought a pattern I liked, needles and some yarn and got started.
It became apparent very quickly that vague memories from the dim and very distant past were not good enough to actually knit. The internet was very helpful with diagrams of casting on, knitting and purling, and so on, but, being a book work, what I needed was.....
...... a book.
I chose 'Knitting in Plain English' by Maggie Righetti and it became my bible. It is not a book for everyone; flicking through it now, I think I need to re-read parts as I will now understand them better.
From baby clothes, the logical progression was to garments for myself.
At first, they were simple constructions with the odd detail here and there. But gradually the amount of detail and complexity of stitches increased becoming more and more lacey.
This ended up with the ultimate in lace - Shetland Lace. (Gladys Amedro's book is the one I started with.)
In another direction, children's clothes became fluffier (using eyelash yarns) and introduced not only colour work, but stuffing. In the pattern, the rabbit's nose is stuffed.
When Lethlet grew out of his rabbit jumper, it was incumbent on me to knit him another in a bigger size.
Although colour work progressed, there was a particular direction in which 'fluffiness' and stuffing went.....
At first, I knitted the rabbit. Then I had to knit Rabbit's Friend (in black and white this time). Then it was the kitten, which was instrumental in a long-lasting near-obsession in kittens. Finally, the gorilla, who had to gain a tail on the insistence of the Lethlet.
This particular booklet is extremely hard to get hold of now, but some of the animals and many many more are available from Alan Dart's website.
I find that I am now highly critical of toy patterns and my favourite pattern designer is still Alan Dart. The current projects approach, although they do not quite meet, his standard.
Of course, Coulomb will tell you he is the ultimate in this particular direction (and who would disillusion that face?):